Kevin Orrock, president, Summerlin, The Howard Hughes Corp., is planning for the next era emerging in the master-planned community that hugs the valley’s western rim.
Orrock heads the development of the 22,500-acre project. Over the past few years, he has watched over new developments, such as the 1.6 million-square-foot retail, dining and entertainment project, Downtown Summerlin. That project was brought to life at the end of 2014 after being mothballed in 2008 by then-owner General Growth Properties.
In the same general region, the Vegas Golden Knights’ $24 million, 105,000-square-foot practice facility is taking shape. The facility is projected to be completed in August.
Also, near Orrock’s office at Pavilion Center Drive and Charleston Boulevard, there are plans to raise a six-story, 152,300-square-foot office development at Pavilion Center and Griffith Peak drives — adding onto the nine-story, 200,000-plus-square-foot office development at Downtown Summerlin.
Orrock has been with the company more than four decades and has survived the recession along with several changes in ownership. He started his career in 1974 in the finance department for famed aviator Howard Hughes, though the two never met. The reclusive billionaire died in 1976.
Orrock was born in Pioche and received his undergraduate degree from Wittenburg University in Springfield, Ohio, and his Master of Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1976.
Hughes obtained the land where Summerlin sits today in 1952 from the federal government, though he didn’t intend a real estate development at the time.
In 1988, plans for the community were announced by Summa Corp., predecessor to Howard Hughes Corp. Summerlin got its first residents in 1991 and has grown to more than 100,000 today.
Q: How many neighborhoods are currently active in Summerlin?
A: We have 21 neighborhoods that are actively selling now. We’ll probably add another 10 to 12 this year. We’ve got a lot going on in Summerlin. Some of the neighborhoods will sell out (this year).
Q: How does this compare to sales during the recession?
A: If you go back to six years ago, we had 10 neighborhoods actively selling.
Q: How does a master-planned community come together over time?
A: It doesn’t necessarily happen on its own. It’s a master developer working with all of our builders to get to that end point. You have to create an overall product where people want to be. You want a cradle-to-grave type of scenario.
Say someone buys an entry-level home; as they move through their careers, they continue to move up into a different price range. Then, when you get to the empty-nester stage, you can move back down, if you want —or you can go to an attached product or you can go to an active-adult product. It’s creating a diverse range of product for the community and your customers.
Q: Some of this is happening in Downtown Summerlin?
A: That’s one reason why our downtown area is going to be attractive to people who live in Summerlin, it will give them the ability to trade out of an existing home, whether it’s in The Ridges or it’s in the Paseos, or one of the villages, and come to more of an urban environment. This will be all attached product, the downtown area. There won’t be any detached product there.
Q: What’s being developed for housing in Downtown Summerlin?
A: The plan is that we would eventually have about 4,000 residential units in Downtown Summerlin. Downtown Summerlin is basically Charleston Boulevard, 215, Sahara Avenue and Town Center Drive. It’s about 400 acres, including Red Rock Resort.
There will be a diverse range of product within the attached segment of the market and price points as well — and for-rent product.
Q: How could the Vegas Golden Knights’ practice positively affect Summerlin?
A: The hockey players practice for an hour a day. Where do you think they’re going to live? They’re going to live in Summerlin. My guess is that most of them are going to live in Summerlin, within the proximity of the practice facility.
For the rest of the time, that’s opened up to league play, figure skating and kid’s activities. It becomes a really huge amenity for this community. We’re excited about that. That’s going to generate traffic.
Q: How much of Summerlin is left to develop?
A: We’re just under 6,000 acres — about 900 acres will be commercial.
Q: How has the development changed over time?
A: You’re talking about a 50-year project. We started in 1991. This project will go through 2039.
You go to The Hills project in the north and look at that product. And then go look at what we’re doing in The Cliffs now — the contemporary design versus a traditional housing product that you’ve seen all over Las Vegas.
Q: You enjoy riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles?
A: I have a very good friend, and he and I, every year, typically take off for seven to 10 days. We’ve ridden all over the West, almost every back road in the country.